Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy

or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

Fatty Skin Tumors in Cats


Lipoma in Cats


Lipomas are soft masses or tumors that lie beneath the surface of the skin. They are usually palpable, with limited mobility under the skin. The overlying skin is usually not affected. Over time they can grow larger and can impede movement if they are located between the legs or low on the chest. It is important to recognize that additional masses do not necessarily indicate malignancy or metastasis. Because other cutaneous masses may appear similar to lipomas, it is recommended that each mass be checked.


Another sub-classification of benign lipomas is the infiltrative lipoma. These typically invade locally into muscle tissue and fascia and may need to be removed.


Conversely, liposarcomas are malignant and can spread (metastasize) to the bone, lungs, and other organs. These tumors are rare, but are demonstrative of the need to examine each subcutaneous mass individually.


Symptoms and Types


Most lipomas feel soft and movable under the skin. They usually will not cause discomfort unless they are in a location where normal movement is disrupted, like in the axillary region under the front leg. Often they are located on a cat's belly or trunk, but can be found anywhere on the body.




Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical on your cat, checking for all palpable masses. A fine needle aspirate of the mass will indicate whether it is in fact a benign lipoma. Diagnosis of this is essential, as other more worrisome masses can mimic a lipoma. If the aspirate is inconclusive, surgical removal and a histopathology may be necessary to arrive at a clear diagnosis.


Infiltrative lipomas may require computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to adequately understand the mass and its location in the tissue. This is important information for the surgeon to decide how much of the mass can or should be removed and the approach that will be needed for surgery.



Comments  0

Leave Comment

Sign up for the Cat Care Journal

Monthly expert tips and stage-by-stage advice to help care for your cat.

By subscribing you agree to receive special offers from Pet360 Inc and Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the makers of ARM & HAMMERTM.

Cat Care Questions
Answered By

Q. Why do kittens meow?

A. The truth of the matter is there isn't one clear answer. However, many experts agree...

Read More
Q. Why do kittens purr?

A. A kitten's purr is another complex emotional signal that is designed to communicate...

Read More
Q. Should I speak to my kitten?

A. Yes, by all means, please do. The happiest kittens are those that feel like part...

Read More
View All the Questions

Featured Breed


Savannah Cat

Featuring Alya
The Savannah is an unusual, exotic breed of domestic cat that looks much like its ancestor, the African Serval, but is smaller in size. One of the features that make this breed so unique...